This page is an attempt to list all the new features in SQL Server 2016 and give data professionals a place to begin learning about what has changed. Each of the topics below is described with a link to another page that contains various resources that can help you learn more about that particular topic.
If you find errors or ommissions for the topic list, please leave a comment on this article. If any of the specific topics has broken or missing links, please leave a comment on those pages.
The title for each section is the link to another page.
SQL Server 2016 has new improvements for columnstore indexes including updateable nonclustered columnstore indexes, columnstore indexes on in-memory tables, and many more.
Improvements have been made in SQL Server 2016 to the In-Memory OLTP tables and reducing limitations.
Live Query Statistics
Live Query Statistics allow you to view the live query statistics of an active query, providing real time insights.
The Query Store is designed to give DBAs insight into query plan choice and help with performance issues.
A temporal table is a table that provides a view of the data of a table at a point in time. This allows you to look at the historical view of a table at a point in time in the past.
Backup to Azure
The Backup to Azure feature is designed to allow you to take a backup of your on-premises database directly to Azure blog storage.
The Managed Backup feature is designed to automate your backups to Azure Blob Storage.
Multiple TempDB Files
In SQL Server 2016, we have the ability to setup multiple tempdb files directly from setup.
The FOR JSON clause can be added to a SELECT statement to return JSON formatted results to client applications.
Always Encrypted is useful when the client cannot trust the server and wants to ensure only encrypted data is stored and manipulated on the server.
Polybase allows a SQL Server use to access data stored in Hadoop using T-SQL.
Stretch Database allows you to store parts of a table in the Azure SQL Database for archival purposes. The database automatically moves rows meeting some criteria to Azure and offloads computation to the Azure cloud.
Row-Level Security (RLS) has been available in Azure for a few months, but it is coming to SQL Server 2016. This allows you us define a function that can be used as criteria in queries for determining if users can access particular rows of data.
Dynamic Data Masking
Dynamic Data Masking is a feature in SQL Server 2016 that is designed to return a custom mask of information for sensitve data in columns.
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